Just a week ago, I wanted to write about something that came to me after I visited a friend. It was supposed to about how sometimes there just isn’t a suitable word when you’re looking at a friend suffering so badly from something so destructive and aggressive. It was supposed to go like this:
WHEN THERE ARE NO WORDS
No colorful adjectives, no witty phrases, no funny remarks, no descriptive poems.
Not to her.
Not when I was watching here try to keep her eyes open as the morphine kicked in.
Not when she couldn’t clearly pronounce the words because she was too groggy to speak.
Not when she couldn’t lie down – “I want to but I can’t, I can’t.”
Not when she seemed to have accepted what has happened, what was coming.
Not then when words didn’t matter.
Towards the end of the post I was supposed to ask for advice about what to say the next time I visit her. But like my unfinished, unpublished post, her life was cut short. And now nothing, not even words, matters to her anymore.
If there’s something about words that I learned while I cried, and my friends found out why, is that some words shouldn’t even be said. No, telling someone to stop feeling sad doesn’t work. Telling them she’s okay and in a better place anyway doesn’t either. What works is silence, a little hug, an assuring grasp.